Team behind the Team: Ellis and Jon Roberts

Ellis Roberts has a dream. Or rather, he has two. He wants to go America on a golf scholarship and he would love to carry board for Rory McIlroy and Rickie Fowler. Was the second of those achieved at The Ryder Cup?


The 16 year-old from Cruden Bay plays at the club in the village where his name is on the honours board for a hole in one on the St Olaf nine-hole course three years ago. The Peterhead Academy student hopes he can combine history with golf when he leaves school. 

In the meantime he has been working on the latter through the Scottish Golf Development programme at Meldrum House Golf Club under coach Iain Donaldson. And that is how he could now be close to realising his second dream – depending on Paul McGinley’s team selections - having been selected to carry board at The Ryder Cup.

Ellis said: “I can’t wait. I’m really looking forward to being close to the players and hearing what they say to their caddies – what they discuss, how accurate their yardages are, do they round it up to 150 as I do or saying 139 or 143. 

“If I could choose a player to carry board for, it has got to be Rory McIlroy or Rickie Fowler – that would be a massive dream.”

Ellis will be appearing at the ClubGolf Junior Masters next month at Blairgowrie Golf Club having reached the final with teammates Calum Sheal and Cameron Gray. His mum Karen and dad Jon also play at Cruden Bay, and the day he won the Junior Club Championship, Karen won the scratch prize on the St Olaf course while Jon just missed out on a place in the men’s final. Hopefully a week behind the ropes at The Ryder Cup with his son will make up for any disappointment!

Jon said: “This sort of thing doesn’t happen to me as I don’t consider myself a lucky person. To get the reply to say we’d be chosen, I was in total shock. I went back to the email and re-read it as thought they’d got the wrong Jon!

“I think Ellis was terrified that he would be carry boarding on his own so when he realised I was doing it with him, then he was cock-a-hoop running around telling everyone!

“It is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and I cannot wait to be there and to have my son standing next to me.”

Jon has since shared their experience of life inside the ropes:

Thank you for an experience that we will never forget. For me it was one of the best weeks of my life and to have Ellis with me made it even more special.

I don't think we could have got any better groups on any of the days than the ones we had. All three were fantastic, two went down the 18th which was just the most amazing atmosphere. The first group was the last one to finish and all the other players came to watch this made it even better as we got very close and could talk to them and their wives which Ellis really enjoyed.

When I got the first email telling me we had been selected. I had just come back from the final qualifying round to get to Dubai for a week’s golfing all expenses paid and had missed it by a few points and was a little upset. 

I was at work the next day at 5.45 when I got the email with the heading ‘congratulations you've been selected’. I thought, ‘great, it's PPI’. I opened it just to check and that's when I got the surprise. I was then sitting at my desk with the news we are going to be inside the ropes at The Ryder Cup and had no one to tell - I couldn't phone Ellis or Karen at that time in the morning so I kept it to myself until I got home. Sitting having dinner, I announced to Ellis he had a job at The Ryder Cup as a board carrier! 

We talked a lot over the next months about who we wanted to get in our groups. I have to admit I had a tear in my eye when I found out we were carry boarding for Rory McIlroy and Rickie Fowler in the singles, as that was Ellis’ dream.

You can sign up now for this year's Scottish Golf Development Centre coaching programme.

Roberts on course

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